Skip to product information
1 of 4

Little River Cooperative

Red Malabar Spinach

Regular price $12.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $12.00 USD
Sale Sold out

Red Malabar Spinach
Basella Rubra

days to maturity: 50 days baby; 85 full size
plant spacing: 1 square foot with trellising
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours
look out for: plant getting huge
harvest notes: harvest giant paddle like leaves directly off of purple stem or clip growing tips for shoot style harvest

Red malabar spinach is a unique tropical vining plant that fits squarely in the “weird spinach-like greens” category of plants that South Floridians grow when its too hot for “normal” greens, like lettuce & arugula. Its native to India, Sri Lanka & Indonesia and is also referred to as Basella Alba, Ceylon Spinach & Libato. This plant is a water loving extremely vigorous vining plant that looks amazing in your garden when trellised properly. 

This showy greens variety makes a fast growing rubbery red vine covered in dark green savoyed spinach-like leaves that taste slightly peppery with a hint of citrus. When it flowers it makes white & lavender flowers that produce neon magenta berries whose juice can be used for dyeing when ripe. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium and iron, with many other vitamins and minerals in lower quantities. It has over 3 times more vitamin C than spinach, and over 1.5 times more vitamin A than kale. Young shoots are tender enough to be eaten like an asparagus-style vegetable. 

Just as with normal spinach, avoid cooking this “mucilaginous” plant too long or it’ll become unpalatable and gooey. Mucilage is a super vital medicinal component and is known to have a beneficial effect on burns, wounds, ulcers, external and internal inflammation and irritations, diarrhea and dysentery, and Mucilaginous plants have a cooling energetic, which is perfectly suited for tropical areas when the days can get so hot. 


All of our plants are produced using OMRI certified organic materials (potting mix, fertilizer & pesticides) however our nursery is not certified organic. Plants are shipped in compostable peat moss pots and we use heirloom & organic seeds whenever possible.

Shipping & Returns

We ship plant orders every Monday. Due to the nature of shipping plants we only offer expedited shipping for our live plant orders. Our returns & exchanges policy is also quite strict since its hard to control the quality of a plant once it leaves our facility, however we do our very best to make sure that each and every customer is satisfied with their plants. Read more about our policies here. 


All of our plants are potted in 4" pots and their foliage size varies based on how large the plant is naturally when its root ball is the correct size for the pot. If a plant is too tall for our shipping box we may prune it to fit (bonus: many plants do better after being pruned since they make bushier growth). We do our very best to ship all of our plants in the "sweet spot" of maturity however so long as the roots have colonized the pot we will consider a plant mature enough to ship.

Care Instructions

When you receive your plant its critical to get it out of its box and into the light the day it arrives. It will also want to be removed from its compostable plastic wrapping and given fresh water to drink. Keep in mind, this plant was grown in the tropical humid climate of South Florida, so if it's terribly cold or dry where you are it'll need to be hardened off before planting outdoors. Visit our care instructions page for more thorough info about caring for your new plant friend.

  • What Our Customers Have to Say:

    This is a great, local organization with really knowledgeable & friendly staff. They make gardening easy and accessible, and I've purchased many high quality plants and equipment from them.
    -Kate Black (5 star google review)

  • And Another One:

    How lucky we are to have a resource like Little River Cooperative here in Miami, not only for the access they offer to a great selection of plants and produce, but also for the knowledge they provide and the sense of community they foster!
    -Nick Vagnoni (5 star google review)